Poems that celebrate the joy of love and life
January 24, 2022 11:46 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a wedding reading for my sister, but it's a bit of a snowflake.

I told my sister I would help her find a poem or song lyrics that can be used during her civil wedding ceremony.

They are looking for something that celebrates the love and joy, but isn't too sentimental or serious, while also be appropriate for her wedding (in this case that means no swearing or sex references).

Maybe something like this.

We're in England and no references to God or religion are allowed in civil ceremonies.
posted by Laura_J to Writing & Language (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 


Your link was to gladdestthing.com, and they're front page had
Habitation by Margaret Atwood linked. Not bad. There's a list of 10 more such choices here.

Or pretty much anything Mary Oliver ever wrote? You don't have to tell people that it's probably about her dogs.

Leonard Cohen's "The Sweetest Little Song" is literally "You go your way/I'll go your way too." Not bad for 9 words.
posted by adekllny at 12:07 PM on January 24, 2022 [2 favorites]


Rainer Maria Rilke, for introverts.
posted by humbug at 12:07 PM on January 24, 2022 [3 favorites]


This post from Cup of Jo and the comments provide some really wonderful options to choose from! https://cupofjo.com/2016/05/best-wedding-readings-funny-romantic-offbeat/
posted by monster_a at 12:50 PM on January 24, 2022


I read Tin Wedding Whistle by Ogden Nash at my brother's wedding.
There is also Wedding by Alice Oswald.
Or The Confirmation by Edwin Muir. One of my favourites.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 1:36 PM on January 24, 2022


This e e cummings poem looks chaotic on the page, but I promise it is an absolute joy to read aloud. Take a breath and go for it.
For the first seven lines, ignore line endings. Breathe wherever there's a parenthesis or a semicolon.
After that the line endings become your friends. I'd still breathe at the semicolon after "life".

i carry your heart with me
e e cummings

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:49 PM on January 24, 2022 [1 favorite]


At my sister’s wedding, I read “Your Personal Penguin” by Sandra Boynton and another person read the lyrics to “The Book of Love” by the Magnetic Fields.
posted by epj at 3:26 PM on January 24, 2022 [2 favorites]


A Wedding Toast

Our wedding dance was to Hands On The Wheel by Willie Nelson. For a reading, you can take out the verse about the man and the boy.

From Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

“You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness. We pardon to the extent that we love. Love is knowing that even when you are alone, you will never be lonely again. And great happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. Loved for ourselves. And even loved in spite of ourselves.”



Love Is Friendship Set On Fire by Laura Hendricks

“Love is friendship caught fire; it is quiet, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection, and makes allowances for human weaknesses. Love is content with the present, hopes for the future, and does not brood over the past. It is the day-in and day-out chronicles of irritations, problems, compromises, small disappointments, big victories, and working toward common goals. If you have love in your life, it can make up for a great many things you lack. If you do not have it, no matter what else there is, it is not enough.”

Love's Philosophy by Percy Shelley
posted by dpx.mfx at 3:37 PM on January 24, 2022


I like “ Most Like an Arch This Marriage” by John Ciardi. It’s got sentiment, but it’s not really sentimental.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:23 PM on January 24, 2022


I read Neil Gaiman's wedding poem at my friend's wedding recently and it went down well. Might be the vibe you're looking for.
posted by khites at 7:29 AM on January 25, 2022


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